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Inspecting Brick Veneer Siding Flashing

When we say brick veneer, this means brick cladding over wood or a masonry (block) structure. Home inspectors know that if there is a foundation problem, it will almost always manifest itself on the brick. Brick veneer is normally installed on the front recessed part of the foundation wall called a brick ledge. Of courses home inspectors are looking to ensure the brick is properly tuck pointed and not damaged in any way. But what about moisture? Many potential homeowners assume that because the house id brick, there will not be a problem with moisture intrusion. They are quite mistaken. Water can get between the brick veneer and the wood structure. How does that happen? Rain water can get behind the bricks through gaps in the mortar or through small cracks. Windows, doors and penetrations that are not properly flashed or sealed will trap water on the backside of the brick. One of the biggest problems with moisture behind brick veneer is the lack of, or improperly installed flashing. Flashing must be installed where a roof inserts to a brick wall, within one course above and below doors and windows, and just above grade below ground floor level. Window sills should be sloped at least 15 degrees. Flashing in this area should be installed under the sloped course of brick, this will divert water that has entered the wall cavity. The bottom course of brick should not be below the soil line. There should be flashing under the last course of brick above grade and below the bottom of the framing. This flashing will inhibit ground moisture from wicking up and will deliver water out of the cavity between the brick and the framing. Home inspectors should also be looking for weep holes. There should be a weep hole in the head joint every 24 inches. Loose bricks could be a sign of a compromised foundation, moisture caused from improper flashing, missing mortar, or missing brick ties.

Brick weep hole vents allow water to exit from behind the brick. They may also provide some additional ventilation. Brick weep holes or really slots, should have a mesh screen covering. This will ensure insects to not enter. A home inspector should be looking for weep holes at the bottom brick approximately every 24 inches. Hopefully flashing has been installed in this area.

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